tv Studio B With Shepard Smith FOX News February 7, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
government about the foreign, political a economic developments or an operations officer whose job it is to find and obtain the elusive secret that provide advance warning of strategic cyber attacks and ser per sent threats such as nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation or a technical expert who seeks new and creative ways to find nuggets of intelligence and secure and stealthy intelligence collection and systems and encounter the latest technological threats to our nation or a support officer or manager with the responsibility to ensure that the core missions of the agency collecting intelligence providing all sorts of analysis and when directed by the president, conducting covert action, are carried out with rick sit skill, speed, agility and pro if i havesy.
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raises a very serious issue. given the gravity and importance of the subject, i look forward to further dialogue with members of the committee on it's findings if i am confirmed. until addition some of the and in this room. i have publicly acknowledged that the fight against al qaeda and it's forces have sometimes involved force outside of the hot battlefield of afghanistan. accordingly, it's understandable that there's legal basis as well as the thresholds and criteria, processes and procedures and approvals of such actions.
i have strongly promoted such discussion with the congress and the american people, and i believe that our system of government and our commitment to transparency demands nothing less. adds the elected representatives of the american people and the members of this committee, you have the be obligation to oversee the activities of the cia and the other elements of the intelligence committee to ensure that they're being carried out effectively and lawfully and successfully and without regard to partisanship. i would endeavor to keep this committee fully informed, not only because it's required by law, but because you can neither performer in function or mission of the cia if you're kept in the dark, and i know that irrespective of the fullness of that dialogue, there will be occasions when we disagree. just as you disagree yourself on the past and activities of the cia. such disagreement is healthy and a necessary part of our
democratic process. but such should never keep us from carry out national security and. it could have devastating consequences for the safety of all americans. during my courtesy calls with many of you, i heard represented references to our trust deficit which has existed at times between this communit committeee cia. it would be wholly unacceptable to me. and i would make it a goal on day one of my tenure and every day thereafter to strengthen the trust between us. i have a reputation for speaking my mind, and at times in a direct manner, which some tribute to my new jersey roots. i hope that my candor will ensure that you get straight answers from me. maybe not the ones that you like, but you will get answers and they will reflect my honest views. that's the commitment that i make to you.
i would like to say a few words about the importance of the men and women who serve in the cia. because of the confidence it requires, few americans will never notify the extraordinary sacrifices that these individuals and their families make every day. many risk their lives and at times have given their lives to keep us safe. if confirmed, i would make it my mission, in partnership with the congress to be make sure that the men and women have the trade, craft, ling giving skills and guidance to do their jobs. and they also nida insurance to do all we can to keep the nation's secrets and to prevent the leaks of information, these damage security, sometimes gravely, putting cia agents at risk and making their missions much more difficult. the men and women of the cia are a national treasure, and i will consider it one of my most important responsibilities to take care of them just as others took care of me when i arrived
at langley in 1980. chairman and vice chairman of the committee. as you know, when you arrive at langley into the lobby, you see the memorial wall. on it are stars, each of them representing a member of the cia family who give his or her life in the service of this nation. today there are 103 stars on that wall. to mech and everyone in the cia, they are not simply stars, but remembrances of dearly departed family and friends, unsung patriots who loved this country and died protecting it. that memorial wall means something very special to me and to every other american who has proudly served at the agency. i want all cia employees always to be proud of the organization to which they belong and proud of all of its activities. and who is given the honor to serve as the director of the
cia, i would do everything that i can in my ability to ensure that the central intelligence association is the absolute best intelligence service it can be and one that makes all americans proud. thank you very much, and i look forward to taking your questions. >> thank you very much, mr. brennan. i have five short questions that we traditionally ask. if you would just answer them yes or no. do you agree to appear before the committee from -- excuse me, do you agree to appear before the committee here or other venues when invited? >> yes. >> do you agree to send officials from the cia and designated staff when invited? >> yes. >> do you agree to provide documents or any other materials requested by the committee in order for it to carry out it's oversight and legislative responsibilities? >> yes, all documents that come under my authority for the cia absolutely. >> would you ensure that the cia and it's officials provide such material to the committee when
requested in. >> yes. >> do you agree to inform and fully brief, to the fullest extent possible all members of this committee of intelligence activities and covert actions, rather than only the chairman and vice chairman? >> yes, i will endeavor to do that. >> thank you, and we were now going to go into 8 minute rounds, and we'll do it by seniority and alternate from side to side. i wanted to talk about, just for a moment, the provision of documents. senator wide and others have hah to do with this. but our job is to provide oversight, to try to see that the cia and other intelligence communities operate legally in order to do that, it's really necessary to understand what the official, legal interpretation is.
so the office of legal council opinions become very important. we began, during the bush administration, with mr. bradbury, to ask for olc opinions. up to last night when the president called the violence chairman, senator wideman and myself, that they were providing the olc opinions, we were not annual to get them. it makes our job to interpret what is legal and not legal much more difficult if we do not have those opinions. the staff has asked for eight additional opinions. what i want to know, is when you become our advocate with the administration, so that we can obtain those opinions? >> chairman, the amendment requires that the heads of the intelligence agencies provide the committee with the appropriate legal documentation to support covert actions, i
would be in support of the committee having the documentation it needs to support functions. i have been an advocate of that position and i will continue to be. >> i take that as a yes, and i count on you to provide eight olc tens. second question. when the opinion came over, our staff were banned from seeing it this morning. we have lawyers, and we have very good staff. this is upsetting to many of the members. we fend on our staff because you can't take material home, you can't take notes withish you, so the staff becomes very important. do you happen po know why our staff are not permitted when we are permitted to see an olc? >> i understand fully, you are interested in having your staff
to have in documentation, and the reason to keep it to members at times is to keep it to a limited basis, and it's rather exceptional, as i think you it know, that immediately council or advice would be shared with you, and i think this was determined because of the rather exceptional nature of the issue, and in the genuine effort to meet the committee's requirements. i understand your interest. >> if you would relay the request officially, we would appreciate it very much. >> i will. second thing. when i spoke with you o in my office, we talked with on the report on interrogation. the 6,000 report you mentioned, i asked you if you would please read it. and you said you would, and you said that you would for sure read the 300 page summary. have you done so? >> yes, chairman,ive read the
summary, 300 pages. >> let me ask it you this question. were the eits key to the takedown of osama bin laden? >> chairman, the report right now still remains classified. and the report has been provided to the agency for comments. there clearly were a number of things, many things that i read in that report that were very concerning and disturbing to me. and one that i would want to look into immediately, if i were to be confirmed as cia director, it talked about mismanagement of the program and misrepresentationtation, and providing inaccurate information, and it was rather damning in a lot of its language as far as the nature of these activities that were carried out. i am eager to see the agency's response to that report. i read those 300 pages, and i look forward, if confirmed, to reading the entire 6,000 page
volume, because it is of such gravity and importance. but chairman, i do not yet have, and nor has the cia finished it's review of this information. that committee's report was done obviously over an extended period of time. and a tremendous amount of work that has gone into it. and based on the review of the documentary information that was available, the documents that were not picked up by cia officers. and i look forward to hearing from the cia on that and then coming back to this committee and giving you my full and honest views. >> thank you, you will have that opportunity, i assure you. i would like to ask you about the status of the administration's efforts to institutionalize rules and procedures for the conduct of drone strikes. in particular, how you see your
role as cia director in that approval process. >> chairman, this committee knows and i'm sure wants to continue to protect a certain covert action activities. so let me talk generally about the counter terrorism program and the role of the cia, and this effort to try to institutionalize and ensure that we have as rigorous as possible that we feel we're taking the appropriate action at the appropriate time. the president has insisted that any actions we take will be legally grounded, will be thoroughly anchored in intelligence, we'll have the appropriate review process, before any action is contemplated, including those actions that might involve the use of legal force. the different parts of the government that are involved in this process are involved in the interagency, and my role as
counter terrorism adviser was to ensure again that any actions we take will fully comply with our law and meet the standards of this committee, what people expect of us as far as anything the american people expect of us, and at the same time, doing everything possible before we resort to legal force. >> thank you. mr. vice chairman? >> thanks very much, madam chair. mr. brennan, the 911 report shows an operation to capture osama bin laden using forces in afghanistan. you convinced director tenet to cancel that operation, using information that you had sandy
berger, saying that the operation should be canceled in favor of a different approach, described by the 9-11 commission as a square feet all out secret effort to expose to taliban to osama bin laden." as we know, bin laden was not expelled. three months later, the bin laden wrath was unleashed by the attack on our embassies. did you advice director tenet and berger against this operation. >> i had a conversation with george tenet at the time. but i must point out, senator, that every single cia manager. george tenet and other individuals, the chief of the counter terrorism center, organized against that operation as well. because it was not well grounded in intelligence, and it's chance of success were minimal. and it was likely that other individuals were going to be
killed. so when i was involved in those discussions, i provided the director and others my professional advice about whether or not i thought that operation should go forward. and i was also engaged in discussions with the saudi government at the time and encouraged certain actions to be taken, to put pressure on the taliban as well as bin laden. >> so i'm taking it that your answer it my question is you did advice in favor of the cancellation of that operation. >> based on what i had known at the time, i felt it was not a good operation and chance of success. >> no operation prior to 9-11 ever -- do you have any second thoughts on thatta to cancel the operation. >> i have no second thoughts because the chance of success were minimal. i was not in a chain of command
at that time but was serving obadias chief of station. >> you receive daily updates from the time that he was captured through his interrogation, lawful techniques, putting you in the position to express any concerns you had about the program before any controversial techniques, including water boarding were ever used. now, we found a minimum of 50 memos in the documents within the 6,000 pages on which you were copied. what steps did you take to stop cia from moving to these techniques that you now say you found objectionable at the time? >> i was not the chair of program. and i was deputy director tet.
and i had the management of the cia and all you have it's various functions. i was aware of the program, and i was ccd on some of these documents, but i had no -- i expressed my views to colleagues about certain things, water boarding andty and others, where i expressed my personal objections to t. buff i didn't try to stop it because it was something being done in the different part of the agency under the authority of others, and it was something that was directed by the administration tet tet. >> are you saying you expressed your objection to my any of the colleagues, do you express to john mclaughlin or executive director or any of the cia leaders? >> i had a number of conversations with my agency colleagues on a broad range of issues during that period of time. not just on this program, but others. we would have personal
conversations. >> my reason in particular for naming those individuals, mr. brennan, is that they were the ones directly above you. mr. mclaughlin is quoted in the press as saying he never heard from you. and he doesn't doubt that you did this, but he says that he never heard from you. we have not seen anybody who has come forward and said that they heard objections from you with respect to these programs. moving on, your boss at the cia said that you had a role in setting the parameters of the program, and i quote, "helping to seek justice department approval for the techniques." he went to say that the job would have been part and parcel with that process. how does that purport that you had no role in the programs in the execution or oversight? >> i respectfully disagree with my colleague.
and the wall street journal article, he goes onto say that i was not involved in many elements of the program. but i was not involved in the establishment of the program. i had awareness that the agency was going to do this and going forward on it, and i had access into the activities there, but i wasn't involved in any management structure or aware of most of the details. >> that being the case, why would you be the recipient of a minimum of 50 emails, mr. brennan, of the progress of the interrogation including techniques used in that investigation? >> that was standard email distribution. i was on thousands and thousands of emails as deputy executive director. i think of i was ccd on them, and i think of nothing i did at the cia to authorize or
appropriate funds on any of those lines. >> secretary kromguard was an advocate of keeks. did you have anything to do with that. >> no. >> when you reviewed the intelligence after the use of eits, did you think that the information was valuable? >> the reports that i was getting subsequent to that and the years after that, it was including my impression that there was valuable information coming out. >> in november of 2007 interview, you said that information from the interrogation techniques "saved lives." but you also say that cia should be out of the detention business. the main benefit that i saw in cia's program was to hold and
question individuals about the significant tense that they were terrorists, but not necessarily evidence that could be used in a court of law. your view seems to be that even if we can save american lives by detaining more terrorists, with more traditional techniques, it would be better to kill them rather than detain them. can you explain the logic in that argument? >> i respectfully disagree, senator. i never believe it's better to kill a terrorist than detain them. we want to get information to avoid other terrorist attacks, so i want to do everything possible to get intelligence from them. i clearly had the impression as you say, when i was quoted in 2007, that there was valuable intelligence that came out of those interrogation sessions and that's why i did say that they save lives. but i must have tell you, senator, raising this report from the committee raises
serious questions good information that i was given at the time. the impression that i have at the time. and now i have determined, based on that information, as well as what the cia says, what the truth is, and at this point, senator, i do not know what the truth is. >> how many targets have been captured during your service with the administration? >> there have been a number of individuals who have been captured, arrested, detained, interrogated, debriefed and put away by our partners overseas, and we have given them the capacity now, provided them the tense. and unlike the aftermath of 9-11, when a lot of these countries why both unwilling and unable to do it, we have given them that opportunity. >> how many valued targets have been arrested and denied and progressed by the united states. of during your four years. >> i would be happy to get you that information of those high
value targets that have been arrested and detained with the u.s. support. >> i submit that the answer to that is one. he was put on a u.s. ship&interrogated for 30 days. thank you. >> thank you, mr. violence chairman. i want to point out that i'm going to try to enforce the eight minute. if you hear a tapping, it's not personal. senator rockefeller? >> thank you, madam chair, welcome mr. brennan, and if confirmed, you're going to lead an extraordinary agency with extraordinary people who perform extraordinary services, most of them totally unknown by the american people. most don't think about that. a life of public service and never having been known. those citizens with everything that we do to be known, and we get elected.
it's very different in the central intelligence association and i respect it very much. i want to go to the eitc, that's tax credit, to the enhanced interrogation techniques. not the for the first. you talk about the 6,000 pages. what i want to say, an when the seconsecond round round comes, i will. dealing with the frustration of various administration, about trying to get information. why was it that they felt that we were so unworthy of being trusted? why was it they were willing to talk to pat roberts or me or dianne feinstein, but not anybody else until we literally bludgeoned them into agreeing to
include everybody? like carl levins, not trustworthy? it's amazing, and i pursue dianne feinstein's point about staff. when you go and you have under the previous administration, a briefing with the president, the vice president, the head of the cia and others, you're not allowing -- i can remember driving with pat roberts when he was chairman and i was vice chairman, we were not allowed to talk to each other driving up and driving back. we were not allowed to do that. of staff is part of nothing. you have to understand that you're surrounded by people who work with you and fill you in. people who are experts. we are too. but they have to be part of this. they got fo to be part of when e olc comes to them also.
i strongly support the chairman's view on that. now, in the enhanced interrogation techniques, a handful of senior cia officials who were personally invested and are personally invested, with the cia detention and interrogation program, largely because they depend on it. the court to speak for the cia, and i think it does all a great disservice. in my office, you and i discussed the committee's landmark report on this program. you do understand that this took six years to write. not just six thousand pages, but six years to write, perhaps longish. 23,000, 30,000 footnotes. why did we do this? we did this because we heard nothing from the intelligence agency. we have no way of being debriefed. they would not tell us what was
going on, so we had to do our own investigation, and we're pretty good at it. and when you read the first 300 pages, you were shocked. not to con what's going wrong in your agency, and thus, demoralizing some of the people in your agency who want to be relieved of the burden of bad techniques and interrogation. they suffered from that. and yet, nobody would talk with us about that. we had to get that information on our own. it's a magnificent piece of work, and it will go down in history because it will define the separation of powers between
the intelligence committees and the senate and others that relate to it. i'm mrs. very aware that this is all crucial to the president's authority, not just on the modern question of the day about drones, but you know, that determination is made by one person, and one person alone. and if there is a breakdown of appropriate call, if there's a breakdown in line of command, in reacting, therefore, into something which is not good. where there's too much collateral damage, for the most part, i would agree with the chairman. i believe she said that the work of the drone had been fairly safe. however, any collateral damage is unacceptable. and that has to be the purpose of the agency. and therefore, this detention and interrogation program, i've
got to say, it was -- people without experience, managed incompetently by senior officials who did not pay attention to details, and conflict of interest. it was sold to the policymakers of the white house, the department of justice and congress with grossly [ inaudible ] it was the low point in our history. and this document, this book, should change that forever. i would hope very much that you would, if you are confirmed, which i hope you will be, that you will make parts of this at your discretion required reading for your senior personnel, so they can go through the same experience that you went through. are you willing to do that?
>> yes, senator, i'm look forward to taking advantage of whatever lessons come out of this chapter in our history and this committee's report. >> how do you cross-reference and tell me . >> 8 seconds, no a minute and 8 seconds, long time. >> the cross-references to the eit disaster, and the future of the drone, and the decisions that only the president of course can authorize that, but it has to be passed down in a very accurate manner, and there has to be a protocol, which is more exact, even more the interrogation techniques, because that has been put to bed just a bit and it's beginning to
get straightened out. butch the drones are going to grow, and more and more of that warfare just us but people in other countries. so the protocol of that, in so far as today refer to a particular agency going to have to be exact and directed, and of particular excellence and exactitude. how would that happen. >> senator, you make a good point, what went wrong, if this is stated accurately, what went wrong in a system where systemic failures in management because covert activities are taking place today under the direction and management of the cia. and i would have an obligation to say to this committee that all of the covert action committees are being run effectively and managed and overseen with effectiveness.
results of those programs are an active and fair representation of what is happening. this report, i would have to get my arms around that, and that would be one of my highest priorities if i go to the agency. >> thank you never rockefeller, and senator byrd? >> thank you for your long history of public service, and more importantly to your family, thank you for your willingness to put up with 24 hobby. most, if not all of the intelligence that our committee received is the finished analysis that is derived from source reports, and materials that we don't see, and i might say, we don't need to see all. in order to ensure that we can perform our oversight duties of the intelligence committee,
would you agree that the committee should be able to review all analytical product if requested? >> on the face of that question, yes, my answer would be yes, but however, i would have to look at what we're talking about and access to that product. is it all staff, all committee members, whatever? i just can't commit to that, but your intention and what your objective it, i would support, to make sure that the committee has the breadth of expertise from the agency. >> as we go forward, there may be times when the committee may need the raw intelligence to judge the analytical information that we pride. if requested would you give the raw intelligence if requested. >> senator, i would give everything my full k., that's my commitment to you. >> do you agree that it's a function of this committee's
oversight that occasionally we would need to look at it. >> i would agree that it's a function of your oversight that you would have interest in doing that, and it would be my functioning as director of the cia to try to be to that interest, and respect whatever considerations need to be taken into account as we do that. >> mr. brennan, as you know, the committee is conducting a thorough inquiry into the facts in benghazi, libya. and in the course of this investigation, the cia has repeatedly delayed and in some cases flatly refused to provide documents to this committee. would you ensure that this refusal will never happen again? >> i can commit to you, senator, that i would do everything in my ability and authority to be able to reach an accommodation with this committee that requests documents, because an impasse between the executive and
legislative branch on issues of such importance is not in the interest of the united states government. so it would be my objective to see if we could meet those interesting. at the same time, the founding fathers did, and the executive branch of government. and i want to be mindful of that separation, and at the same time, meet your legitimate interests. >> they also gave us the power of the purse. >> they did, senator, and i'm aware of that. >> and i would suggest that that's the only tool, and it's one that we hate to use. do you think there's any situation where it's illegal to disclose to the media or the public details of covert action programs. >> i don't think that it's ever appropriate to disclose classified information to anybody who doesn't have legitimate access to it and the clearance for it. >> let me clarify. i didn't ask for classified information, i specificallily
said covert action programs. >> by definition, those are classified programs. and not release any details to covert action programs. >> let me poit out that in the committee hearings, you didn't really answer a question that dealt with specific instances, in where you were authorized to disclose classified information to a reporter. so could you provide for the committee any times that you were given the authority to release classified information? >> i was -- i never provided classified to reporters. i engaged in discussions with reporters about classified issues that they might have access to because of unfortunate leaks of classified information,
and i frequently work with reporters. if not editors of newspapers to scene out of the public domain some of the country's most important secrets, so i engaged with them on those issues, but after working in the intelligence profession for 30 years, and being in the cia for 30 years, i know the importance of keeping those secrets secret. >> have any of your conversations about intelligence matters been recorded and are there transcriptions of it. >> i believe there have, and i've been on network shows and engaged in conversations on telephone and other things, and presumed to know that they have been recorded on occasions. >> have you specifically asked that they not be recorded in. >> whenever i talk to reporters, i do so at the request of the white house press office, and there are ground rules established and i'm not the one to establish those ground rules.
>> you said in your prehearing responses that in exception al times, it may be necessary to disclose to the media. did you say that you had inside information on the aqap bomb plot? >> i think what you're saying, when i have a teleconference with officials who are going to be on talk shows on a night that an ied was intercepted. and i discussed with them some of the ethics of that because i was going on the news shows the following day, and i wanted them to understand what it was and what it wasn't. and what i said at the time, i said that i couldn't talk about any operational details, and this was shortly after the bin laden take down. and what i said publicly, because we had inside control of the plot. and the device was never a
threat to the american public. >> did you think that that comment actually exposed sources or methods? >> no, senator, i did not, and there's an ongoing investigation right now, about the everyone fortunate leak of information that was very very damaging, and i've voluntarily cooperated with the department of justice on that and have been interviewed on it. >> let me just say that there was one overseas shortly after that, i had on numerous occasions, u.s. officials who expressed to me the challenge that they had gun through to try to make apologies to our partners, and i personally sat down in london to have that apology conversation, and it was very disruptive. very quickly, did you provide any classified or otherwise sensitive information to reporters about the details of the raid? >> no, i did not, senator. >> do you know who disclosed
information that prompted the secretary of defense, robert gates, to advise the white house to tell people to shut up? >> you would have to ask senator gates, because i don't know. >> in conclusion, let me just go back to the initial questions that the chair referred to. and in that, i think you might have taken her request on documents to be the documents that we have got outstanding right now. i think she was referring to the future. and let me just say, i hope that you've taken the opportunity. it is absolutely essential that the documents that the committee has requested on benghazi be supplied before the conversation moves forward. i realize, i'm not saying that you were part of it, but it's absolutely essential that we get those documents before we begin a new administration of cia, and i hope that you will deliver that message. thank you. >> thank you very much, and
senator-46. >> thank you for the joint meeting that you had with some of us last week. as we discussed then, i believe that the issues before us really have nothing to do with the political party and have everything to do with the checks and balances that make our system of government so special. taking the fight to al qaeda is something every member of this committee feels strongly about. it's the idea of giving any president unfettered power to kill an american without checks and balances that is so troubling. every american has the right to know when their government believes it's allowed to kill them. and ensuring that the congress has the documents and information it needs to conduct robust oversight is central to our democracy. in fact, the committee was actually created in large part
in response to oversight programs that involve targeted killings. so it was encouraging last night when the president called and indicated that effective immediately, he would release the documents necessary for senators to understand the full legal analysis of the president's authority to putting a targeted killing of an american. but the president said as a good first step toward ensuring the openness and accountability that's important and you heard that in the strong words of the chair right now. since last night, however, i've become concerned that the department of chris is not following through with the president's commitment just yet. 11 united states senators asked to see any and all legal opinions, blu but when i went to read the opinions this morning, it's clear that's not what is
provided. and with respect to the lawyers, i think it's clear that there's a double standard. as a national security adviser, you asked your lawyers and experts to help you, and we were trying to figure how to wade through all of these documents. one of the reasons i'm concerned, that it's not yet clear that what the president committed to has actually been provided. finally on this point, the committee has been stonewalled on several other requests, particularly with respect to secret -- and i'm going to leave this point and say that i hope you'll go back to the white house and convey to them the message that the justice definite is not yet following through on the president's commitment. will you convey that message? >> yes, i will, senator. >> very good. now, let me move to the public side of oversight, making sure that the public's right to know
is respected. one part of oversight is congressional oversight. us doing our work here, and the other, making sure that the american people are brought into these debates. just like james madison said, this is what you need to arrive the republic. i want to start with the drone issue. in a speech last year, the president spoke more openly with the public about the use of drones for public killing of al qaeda members. my question is, what should be done next to ensure that funnel conversation about drones, so that the american people are brought into this debate and have a full understanding of what rules the government is going to observe when it conducts targeted killing? >> i think this hearing is one of the things that can be done because i think that this type of discourse between the legislative and executive branch is important. and i think that they are going
to continue speeches given by the executive branch to explain our counter terrorism programs, and i think there's a miss impression on the part of american people that we strike and nothing could be further from the trut. we only take last resort to save lives when there's know other alternative. so we want to make sure there's an understanding, and the people standing up here today, i think that they have a misunderstanding of what we do as a government. and the care that we take, and the agony that we go through to make sure that we don't have any collateral injuries or deaths. as the chairman said earlier, we need to be able to go out and say that publicly, and that's critically important. because people are reacting to a lot of falsehoods out there, and i see this as part of my obligation, and that the truth
is known to the public and the world. >> mr. brennan, i'm convinced that color parts of drone security that can be. and let me ask you other questions with respect to the president's authority to kill americans. i've asked you how much evidence that the president needs to decide that a particular american can be lawfully killed. and whether the administration believes that the president can use this authority inside of the united states. my in my judgment, both the congress and the public need to understand the answers to these kinds of fundamental questions. what do you think needs to be done to ensure that members of the public understand more about when the government thinks its allowed to kill them, particularly with respect to those two issues? the question of evidence and the authority to use the power within the united states.
>> i've tried to be as open as possible with these programs, as far as our explaining what we are doing. what we need to do is optimize transparency on these issues, and at the same time, optimize efficiency and will security. and it's not one or the other, but optimizing both of them. so we need to explain to the american people, what are the thresholds for action? what are the procedures, the practices, the processes, the approvals, the reviews? and i think that the american people would be quite pleased to know that it's judicious and we only use these authorities as a last resort. >> one thing, if the executive branch makes a mistake and kills the wrong person or group of people, how should the government acknowledge that?
>> i believe this we need to acknowledge it to our foreign partners. we need to acknowledge it publicly. there are certain circumstances where there are considerations to be taken into account, but as far as i'm concerned, if there is this type of action that takes place, in the interest of transparency, i believe that the united states government should acknowledge it. >> and acknowledge it publicly. >> that would be the ideal and the objective of the program. >> one last question if i might. in a letter to you three weeks ago, to receive the names of any and all countries where the intelligence community has used it's legal authority. if confirmed, would you provide the full list of countries to this committee? staff? >> i note that this is an outstanding request on your part. and we discussed it. if i were to be confirmed as director of the cia, i would get
back to you and it would be my intention to do everything possible to meet this committee's requests. >> one thing to wrap up. as a matter of public record, mr. brennan, that the raid that killed osama bin laden was carried out under the authority of cia director, leon panetta. and that tells you right there, that the cia's legal authority is used in at least one country. if and i want you to provide ths committee with this full list, will you give us that assurance? >> you're talking about a historical list, are you not? anytime, anywhere that the cia was involved? i would have to look at that request. and certainly, if i were to go to the cia and the cia was involved in any type of illegal activity, i would damn well make sure that this committee had that information. >> that's a good start.
>> senator rich? >> thank you for your service over the years, and i want to follow up on a conversation that you and i had in my office, and it touches on what senator burr asked you about, and that's the question of leaks. i was glad to hear you acknowledge in your opening statement how important it is that we avoid leaks of any kind, because they're dangerous, they endanger the lives of americas, and they can't be tolerated in the business that we're in. and you agree with that, i get? >> absolutely, senator. >> well, i wanted to talk to you about a person who i believe and i think you acknowledge is one of the most dangerous people on the planet. and that's abraham al siri.
and the interview that you gave, ta talked about the plot that involved him. and do you recall that conversation with senator burr? >> yes, i do. >> i have in front of me, the reuters article from 2012, describing your engagement with the media recording mr. asiri and the plot. and you read that article i presume. >> i read many. >> and this one as far as the leak itself. and how we got to where we are on this. and i want to quote from the article. it says at about 5:45 p.m., eastern daylight time on monday, may 7th, just before the evening newscast, john brennan, president obama's to white house adviser on counter terrorism.
had a conference for advisers who had become frequent commentators on tv news shows. is that an accurate statement? >> who was involved in that conversation? in that interview. >> i believe that the people who were on that phone included one of my predecessors, townsend, roner crecy, prichard clark, i think these are individuals who served in the government, and are counter terrorism professionals. >> any others you can think of? >> i do not remember the others. >> do you have notes from that conversation? >> there are notes, yes, that people took that have. >> have those been turned over to the justice department? >> the justice department, as i said, i volunteerly and eagerly engaged -- >> that wasn't the question. >> everything that was available on that has been turned over to
the department of justice, absolutely, senator. >> did you turn those notes over? >> my office turned everything that was available on that, yes. >> who took those notes? >> senator, i was not taking notes at the time. there were people also from the white house who were on that conversation, as we do with all of these types of engagements. >> and who were the people that were involved in that conversation in. >> aside from the reporters? there was somebody from the white house and someone from the counter terrorism directory. >> do you know names. >> i do. >> two people from the white house. >> that's my recollection, yes. >> may 7th was the date the intent occurred, that's correct. >> the day of the conversation with the reporters? >> the date of the underlining event you were talking about. >> now our talking about mr. asiri in terms of being the
person who was responsible for putting together the ied? >> correct. i believe that may 7 was the right date. >> can you tell me why you felt compelled to release that information these people? >> as i explained on the network news the following morning and publicly that device was not a threat to the american public -- >> i don't want to cut you off but that's not the question. >> i thought it was. >> no the question was why did you feel compelled to hold this press conference and divulge that information at that time on that date? >> it wasn't a press conference, it was a teleconference and they were going out on tv that evening and i wanted to make sure these individuals were able to explain to the american people as we've been talking about the importance of making sure the american people were aware of what we were doing. >> they were going to go on tv that evening to discuss this
event? >> yes. the news reports broke that afternoon, senator. so there was a flurry of activity and press reporting. these individuals reached out to us as they do so it was a routine engagement with the press as we normally do when things are made public. >> next. >> brennan stressed the plot was not a threat to u.s. public or air safety because washington had inside control. >> inside control of the plot. that's exactly right. >> okay. so based on that, one would know that we had something inside. is that a fair statement? >> it's -- from that statement, it is known that ied at the time was not a threat to the traveling public. we said there was no active plot at the time. >> would you agree that disclosure was -- resulted in the outing of an asset that shouldn't